The Day After Veteran's Day Is April Fool's Day 2.0

from the fake-fake-news dept

When The Daily Show ran with its “Palin is so dumb” jokes, I was actually wondering where the jokes ended and the truth began (while laughing at the same time). And it seems I’m still left somewhat puzzled — due to the reports that MSNBC fell for a hoax in which Martin Eisenstadt claims to be the source for the rumor that Sarah Palin didn’t know if Africa was a country or a continent.

… the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months.

But the reported hoax is about how Eisenstadt isn’t a real person and that his blog and job at the “Harding Institute” are entirely made up. That doesn’t quite address whether or not Fox News (which broke the Africa story) used Eisenstadt as a source, though…. And it’s actually very easy to mis-read the report on the hoax as saying that the whole Africa anecdote is untrue because the source was fake. However, no one knows who the real source is for Fox’s story (except for Fox News, of course). So it’s very possible that Fox didn’t use Eisenstadt as a source, and with all the hoaxes going around recently, it’s also possible that there’s a very elaborate string of hoaxes going on. In fact, the joke continues as Eisenstadt states on his blog: “I deny any and all accusations that I somehow don’t exist.”

I’m willing to grant that Palin knows Africa is a continent, but Fox News isn’t running an apology for its own reporting (as far as I can tell) — so where does this joke really end?

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Comments on “The Day After Veteran's Day Is April Fool's Day 2.0”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“*Some people* must belittle others to make themselves feel superior,”

There fixed it for you. Democrats are by far not alone in that, and more to the point not all Democrats do that. If you were talking about how people are making fun of Sara Palin, just remember a good chunk of the Republicans that crossed party lines to vote Obama did so simply because she was the Vice Presidential nominiee.

That said, FOX News is definately a joke. Run the RSS feeds all next to each other sometime. Compare it to ones outside the US as well as others inside the US. FOX will run tabloidesque stories while others are talking about real issues about 2/3 times.

Then half the time for that 1 real story they run, they take the opposite stance of CNN just beacuse CNN took a stance, regardless of any actual evidence.

More so than even the “liberal” media, FOX news is NOT a news outlet. It’s an opinions show. It just happens that their opinions are typically shortsighted, bigoted, or just outright silly/childish.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:

“*Just like* the “liberal” media, FOX news is NOT a news outlet. It’s an opinions show. It just happens that their opinions*, like those of most news outlets,* are typically shortsighted, bigoted, or just outright silly/childish.”

There, now I fixed it for you. When you create a post to point out someone’s one-sided thinking, it is probably not a good idea to engage in that activity yourself before the end of that same post. Fox News sucks. So does CNN and MSNBC.

Unfortunately, just about every media source is party-aligned now. I watch PBS if I watch news at all because, despite their liberal leaning, they usually manage to keep news and opinions separate. Really, though, the only way to get truly unbiased news is to get online and read a variety of news sources with different views. From there, you can usually sort out something at least resembling the truth.

The whole Africa story, for example, seems to have stemmed from one verbal slip in which, during a conversation, Palin accidentally said “country” instead of “continent.” I have made plenty of similar mistakes in speech myself. Not at all the same as being “just unable to understand that Africa is a continent, not a country.” Not that I like Palin. I wanted a yard sign that said “McCain in spite of Palin,” but I couldn’t find one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“I wanted a yard sign that said “McCain in spite of Palin,” but I couldn’t find one.”

And praise the lord for that. Hallelujah!

Did you see the latest unemployment numbers? Seems like in spite of your opinion your country is going down the shitter because of the direction you support.
Tough shit though, your choice wasn’t the popular one and as sad to you as it may be your country will just have to start recovering.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well, you seem to assume that I am highly party-aligned. I am not, in fact. I liked McCain because he was willing to think for himself (though that all but vanished in the campaign), and he was not closely aligned with his party.

As far as “tough shit,” I don’t think it is tough at all. I think Obama will do fine. He is a good person with the country’s best interest at heart, even though I don’t agree that his plans are necessarily the best options. People really need to remember the old saying, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Animal cruelty aside, there is a lot of wisdom in taking that view. I have my preferences, but I will be the first to admit that my preferences are not the only ones that will work.

I prefer leaning toward capitalism when possible, with regulations where necessary. Obama prefers leaning toward socialism with capitalism where necessary. Both end up in some range of the center, and as long as this country remains in a balanced center between the two, we will be fine. Too far toward socialism, and laziness collapses the ecomonomy. Too far toward pure capitalism, and greed collapses the economy. I agree that the last eight years have been disastrous, but not because it was conservative. Bush violated nearly every conservative principle on the books. He spent money like crazy, immersed us in world affairs we had no business interfering with, expanded government in unconscionable ways, etc.

The sense is almost always in central compromise. I hope that Obama will be as bipartisan and compromising as he has promised. If so, we will see a return to the prosperity we saw under Clinton. If he instead follows his senate record of extreme partisanship, we will just swing too far the other way, political bigotry will grow even more, and the economy will continue too decline, just for different reasons.

Mike says:

Re: Re:

funny how you assume that I’m a democrat, actually I’m not behind either of the parties, as they are actually both part of the bigger problem, but I stand by my opinion of Fox being good comedy, as it is at best ridiculouly biased, did you watch Hannity and Colmes last night? I rest mt case
(oh and Bill O’Reilly? what “journalist” tells guests to shut up when they try to speak?)

13 years are stupid says:

Re: Re: Re:

Wow now 2 mikes are showing per ignorance. Hannity and Colmes, Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the fox line-up are commentators. Brit Hume the guy that is negative about everything is the journalist. This ignorance and arrogance is the problem with America. Such a moron. I cannot even believe it. You of course are probably 13 so I am not even sure what I am responding, but get over yourself and go look up useless information on wikipedia.

Kate says:

Re: Re: News shows vs. Commentary/Editiorial Shows

Once again people. It’s a News network, but the shows you are mentioning are Commentary Shows, not news programs. As if I would ever consider The Daily Show a real news program. I don’t even consider it a real serious place for political discussion. It’s suppose to be tounge and cheek. Do you realize I actually have met people who say the only place they get their news is The Daily Show and The Cobert Report. Are you serious? The people in this country scare the hell out of me.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re: News shows vs. Commentary/Editiorial Shows

Your mention of The Daily Show is a bit pointless here. It is not on a “news” network and, as you say, it is supposed to be tongue-in-check. O’Reilly is not. The problem with Fox is not that they have commentators, but that ALL of the commentary shows have the same extreme-right slant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re3: News shows vs. Commentary/Editiorial Shows

Olbermann and Matthews don’t dominate MSNBC’s slant? Olbermann is the biggest joke associated with news on TV. CNN isn’t exactly in the clear with people like Cafferty.

You bitch and moan only because it’s not your slant and probably sit and eat up MSNBC telling yourself how great the editorials are.

eleete (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I personally would put ‘Most’ of us at around 70 percent and above. I’d also say that only 1/3 of the entire country even voted, sadly. To say that ‘Most’ of us got the opposite impression is a bit misleading. More Accurately… About 1/2 of voters got a different impression than the other 1/2. Or… 53% as opposed to 47%. Agreed?

snowburn14 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

With apologies to Mike, as I (obviously not quite whole-heartedly;) sympathize with his comment on getting off-track, I have to ask…Do you honestly think black people were the only ones voting based on race? There weren’t at least as many white people doing the same thing to balance that out? Come on… As much as I’d like to believe that to be true, I’ve simply met too many people in this country to be that naive.
And now, on topic… As a quasi-Democrat (definitely liberal, but there are too many idiots in both parties to want to really identify with either), I hate the very idea of Palin with a passion, but even I know better than to believe every story I hear about her ignorance. I was suspicious of this story when I first heard it, as much as I wanted to believe it, and as I never got around to looking into it, I simply assumed it was fiction. People need to be a LOT more skeptical of what mass media tells them. Whichever slant offends us most, I think we can all agree that NO news orginization is unbiased, and they all share a bias towards ratings first, and integrity second. They are businesses, and that’s how they make money. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they would go out of their way to tell us what we want to hear, and leave out the bits – be they boring, or too different from our point of view – that would make us want to change the channel…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are kidding right? Most liberals are uneducated; that is why they are liberal. They know the government will take care of them. It is the educated liberals that amaze me. They want to help everyone out with my money. Why don’t liberals put THEIR money where there mouth is. They can freely give to the IRS or a charity without taking from me. I don’t know one liberal who doesn’t pay as little tax as they can get away with or who freely cuts checks to charities. Why is that?

kenny says:

ignorance of america

I love how everyone thinks Obama is the great hope, when in reality he is as much a slave as his ancestors ever were the only difference is he sold himself. He raised some 400 billon for his campaign he did not do it with $1000.00 diner plates it was from big business. He is bought and paid for just like every other politician we have had in the last 20 or more years.

eleete (user link) says:


I think it’s funny to watch both sides argue and bash each other creating a sense of “are you with us or them”? We are one nation, we are ‘the people’, WE are the ones in trouble. I find it funny to watch the people at such odds with one another at a time when unity is necessary to correct the situations we all find ourselves in. Especially when both sides are touting ‘bi-partisan’ as necessity. Perhaps we should all just accept where we are and work to bring the country together to solve our dilemmas? Yet the media (ALL media) wants this separation. Kinda like yelling ‘fight, fight’ at a high school. Childish, yet we all seem to be susceptible to their brainwashing techniques. Sad. Really sad. Before anyone ‘goes there’, I am an independent and did Not vote for McCain.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Comedy

The two-party system is not the problem. The PARTY system is the problem. George Washington warned against it in his Farewell Address. Here is a quote:

“It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration….agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one….against another….it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption…thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

Sound fmailiar.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

Ya'all is biased!

Fox News is biased to the conservative side. All the rest are biased to the liberal side and that includes the bulk of local news stations. The local CBS news station had one of those quick stories, with only the reporter speaking and a photo graphic over their right shoulder about Biden and Cheney having the VP familiarization meeting. The photo of Biden was the classic perfect smile, groomed, and posed. The photo of Cheney was a dark shot, hair frazzled, and making a bulldog face. Notice how almost every picture the media uses for GW he always has a dopey, confused look on his face. Now think of the other side and look at what beautiful shots were used. Now that is only in the portrayal, they can’t even be unbiased in that. What makes you think that the words they speak or write are unbiased?

nasch says:

Re: Ya'all is biased!

You may be absolutely right, and they intentionally or not chose a bad photo of Cheney. But in my opinion, there’s no good photo of him. He either looks grumpy, or if he’s smiling then he looks a little bit creepy. And Bush always looks dopey, it’s just a matter of degree, sometimes less and sometimes more. Biden and Obama are just more photogenic than Cheney and Bush.

Anonymous Coward says:

Folks, learn about the fucking issues. Democrat and Republican are THE SAME FUCKING THING. These people are all cut from the same damn cloth.

Seriously, what it boils down to is “I don’t want this motherfucker over here taking my money and doing things I don’t like with it, I want this other motherfucker taking my money and doing things I don’t like.”

Besides, arguing on the internet (especially about politics) is like being in the Special Olympics: Even if you win, you’re still a fucking retard.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, Democrats don’t realize this. One Democrat did, and his name was Bill Clinton. He understood that you spend what you can raise. Taxes are necessary, but more taxes != better country. Both parties have it drastically wrong right now. Republicans cut taxes to below what the country needs, and take on debt to cover the rest. Democrats take higher taxes, then have a spending plan that STILL puts us further in debt. For example, giving a tax credit to someone who has already paid ZERO taxes is not a necessary government program, nor does it increase federal revenue to “raise the quality of society.” It simply moves money from one set of civilian hands that earned it to another set of civilian hands who didn’t.

I have NO problem with the wealthy paying higher taxes. However, those taxes need to fund legitimate government programs, not other private citizens. Everyone who takes part in those programs should pay for at least a small share, rather than the 40% (myself included!) who pay no taxes under current tax codes. Last, those government programs should be necessities, not niceties. Our government has grown completely out of control, and, sadly, a so-called conservative president has been the worst culprit in instigating that growth.

Mike (profile) says:


As I type this, we have 40 comments on this story, and NOT ONE talks about what this post is actually about:

It’s not about Fox News or Democrats vs. Republicans.

It’s about a guy who tricked a bunch of news providers with some hoax stories.

Yet people automatically go into their partisan battles and the whole thing gets lost.

Francis Burdett says:

Re: Scary

“Yet people automatically go into their partisan battles and the whole thing gets lost.”

I am not so sure that the reaction is all that “scary” and was entirely predictable.

Several flashwords were mentioned “Palin” “Fox News” “The Daily Show”

Of course it would obviously be best if people stuck to the _actual topic_ at hand.

A query, why was this chosen as a Techdirt topic in any case?

This is not a media critique blog and the technology angle of the story is… what exactly?

That “Eisenstadt” has a blog?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Scary

Several flashwords were mentioned “Palin” “Fox News” “The Daily Show”

How, exactly, are any of those “flash words”?

A query, why was this chosen as a Techdirt topic in any case?

Uh, we write about the media quite often, and we write about whatever we find interesting. We found this interesting, because it was a situation where the media was tricked.

This is not a media critique blog and the technology angle of the story is… what exactly?

That the media fell for the hoax.

We get to choose what we write about, so I’m not sure what your complaint is.

Anonymous Coward says:

The way Palin was belittled in the press was shameful; the vast majority of journalists (and a significant portion of the Democratic opposition) simply assumed she was a moron because she was a Conservative Woman with a Regional Accent. She is far more intelligent than the bulk of her detractors. If they had ridiculed Obama as relentlessly and with as little provocation as they did Palin, I think the election would have turned out very differently.

Snowburn… why do you assume that white voters who voted based on race voted against Obama? That’s unjustified, based on the election results.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The way Palin was belittled in the press was shameful; the vast majority of journalists (and a significant portion of the Democratic opposition) simply assumed she was a moron because she was a Conservative Woman [sic] with a Regional Accent [sic].

Of course it didn’t help that so many of her supporters were too dumb to even capitalize words properly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That wasn’t capitalized incorrectly. You might think it was, because a string of adjectives normally shouldn’t be capitalized. But you’re missing the point, which is that isn’t a random string of adjectives, at least not in the view of the subject of the sentence (“jounalists and … Democratic opposition”). To that group, it is a title. Titles are, properly, capitalized. In other words, in that post, the capitalization isn’t an error, it’s a clue to the proper meaning.

You should know that. It’s a fairly simple rhetorical technique, similar to saying “many Obama supporters are Useful Idiots.” The title “Useful Idiots” is, of course, a historical term used by Stalin. That phrase works regardless of whether the term is capitalized or not, but its meaning subtly shifts; it changes from a simple description, into an assignment to a named class.

And that’s overlooking the fundamental truth that criticizing punctuation on an internet forum is LAME.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Titles are, properly, capitalized.

Proper titles are properly capitalized. “Conservative woman” and “regional accent” are not proper titles. You’re just making my point by continuing to defend your mistake.

You should know that.

Actually, I know better than that. But then, I’m not a Palin supporter.

Charlie says:

Part of the problem with humans is we don’t understand just how unknowing we are capable of being. Even something seemingly simple as deciphering the meaning of words has us at each others throats. This is probably something we will have to deal with until some catastrophe wipes out a significant amount of us. In older times, if you didn’t like things in your valley you’d just crossover into the next valley. Today we are all interconnected and stepping on each others philosophical toes. That is depressing, but, I think, an inevitable sign of the times. We will never solve the problem of being human.

Glenn says:

Ha ha! Martin Eisenstadt pwned the news media! A simple Google search would have shown that the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy is fake. Everyone knows that the dinosaur news media will never change. This isn’t the first hoax that the news media fell for and this won’t be the last hoax. The dinosaur news media is just going to keep getting pwned by people like Martin until no one can trust their reporting anymore and they go extinct.

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